Upon entrance into Chaparral Ice in Northcross Mall, visitors may get the sense they have been teleported from Texas into an ice sports state of the North.
As Austin’s only publicly accessible, regulation-size indoor ice rink, the frozen sheet at the center of the complex lays the foundation for icy recreation Central Texans would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
The rink is occupied seven days a week by people gliding across the ice during each of Chaparral Ice’s 19-20 hours of operation.
“We’re open enough to get everyone here who needs to be out here,” owner Ryan Raya said.
“Everyone” includes an eclectic group—from figure and speed skaters, hockey players and curlers to those just being introduced to the rink. Raya estimates that 70,000 different people come to the rink each year, most to get some laps around the rink, while the rest are there for hockey and curling leagues or speed and figure skating competitions.
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